The LCISD Tech Team is looking forward to a great school year, and hope you are too! To help you on your way towards having the #beststartupever we’ve prepared a checklist of tech-tasks and resources you’ll want to be sure to check out.
The 2015-2016 school year is almost at an end and Technology Services has big plans for the summer!
First, we are completely upgrading and enhancing our wireless network. Every classroom will now have a wireless access point and all existing access points will be replaced. Additionally, Network Services will be installing larger high-volume access points in many common areas to support our growing dependence on a robust wireless infrastructure.
Our current wireless network was built to support our more than 7,000 student laptops. However, in today’s classroom we our encouraging students to bring their own devices and use them to create and collaborate with their teachers and peers. We’ve also added more than 12,000 iPads to our inventory. This past year it wasn’t uncommon to have more than 30,000 wireless devices connected at the same time district wide! This upgrade will ensure a great experience for all of our wireless users.
Interactive Whiteboards in All Classrooms
Second, Technology Services will be installing a Promethean or SMART board in all remaining classrooms that don’t yet have an IWB using 2014 bond funds dedicated to this purpose. While LCISD has a Promethean or SMART board in most classrooms there are still many locations with only a projector and pull down screen. That will change this summer!
Want to learn more about how to get the most out of your SMART or Promethean Board? Check out the resources we’ve developed to help teachers learn to design powerful visuals with SMART Notebook, or Promethean’s ActivInspire – OR – Register for one of our 2016 Back to School Trainings.
Windows 10 & Office 2016
Third, this summer we will be upgrading all computers to Windows 10 and Office 2016. These upgrades will allow for real time document collaboration, full integration with Office 365, and a modern, fast operating system for all users. While these systems offer huge improvements in features and performance, the layout and functions are very similar to what you are currently using.
If you’d like to preview some of the exciting changes that Windows 10 & Office 2016 offer, take some time to investigate Microsoft’s resources for Getting Started with Windows 10 and Getting Started with Office 2016.
Instructional Laptops & Computer Refresh
Finally, we are thrilled to announce that EVERY instructional position (teacher, librarian, instructional coach, athletic coach, facilitator, GT, librarian, etc.) will receive a new instructional laptop! This laptop project is actually part of a much larger computer replacement cycle designed to refresh every computer that was not replaced in the 2014 computer refresh project.
In 2014, every staff member’s computer was replaced and all of our student laptops were updated. Libraries, open labs, and classroom student computers were reconditioned and received new HD monitors but the computers were not replaced. This summer those computers will be updated!
The current minimum classroom standard in LCISD calls for two desktop computers per classroom…typically called the “Teacher Workstation” and “Student Workstation”. However, in a modern, flexible classroom, every available computer is used by teachers and students alike. The old vocabulary terms no longer apply. This summer the minimum standard for classrooms in LCISD will change to reflect the growing need for flexibility, mobility, and collaboration. Each classroom will now feature an “Instructional Desktop” and an “Instructional Laptop” to meet the demands of a modern classroom. This means that the older “Student Computer” will be replaced with a new laptop and docking station. The HD monitor from 2014 will remain as a larger display option for use with the laptop.
This laptop is not a student laptop or teacher laptop. It’s simply an instructional laptop to be used as needed by the people in that room. If a teacher needs to bring it home every evening to create lessons, enter grades, reply to emails, or any one of the hundreds of other tasks that teachers routinely bring home, then we are excited to provide this resource to LCISD teachers. If a teacher wants to use this laptop as part of a center with their students, then they are free to move it anywhere in the classroom that makes sense (unlike the old desktop)! If students need to do research or type a paper and this laptop is available, then teachers should be comfortable letting them log in and get to work!
This is a HUGE change to our classroom model and I know that there are many questions. Please take a moment to read the FAQs below. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me a firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Computer Refresh FAQ
What kind of laptop is being provided?
- A Dell Latitude 5270 with a full HD touch screen and backlit keyboard. This is designed to be light-weight and portable at 12.2”w X 8.4”d X 0.9”h and only 3.2 lbs (much smaller than our current large Dell laptops). For you spec geeks, it has an Intel 6th gen i5 dual core processor, 8GB DDR4 memory, and a 256GB SSD.
How was the decision to replace the older student desktop with an instructional laptop reached?
- A committee of administrators, support staff, and teachers from all grade levels was formed to plan the future of classroom technology in the district. While many items were discussed, one unanimous decision was the need for an instructional laptop for all instructional staff to provide more flexibility in the classroom and more portability outside of the classroom.
Can I bring the laptop home?
- Absolutely! This instructional laptop is meant to help support you in whatever setting it’s needed. Please take it home, take it to meetings, take it to conferences, take it to lunch…just bring it back to school the next day!
Can I keep the laptop at home?
- No. This laptop is designed to support instruction during the day with your students. If you accidently forget it at home one morning, no one is going to come knocking on your door. However, if it remains off of our network for too many days, your supervisor may ask you to bring the laptop back to school.
Can I take it home over the summer?
- We hope you do! Campuses are encouraged to check these laptops out to staff over the summer.
What if I change classrooms?
- The instructional laptop is part of the room’s inventory just like the desktop computer, or phone, or projector remote. It stays in the room for the new occupant, and you will use the instructional laptop in your new room. Under NO circumstances should the laptops be permanently moved from room to room.
Can I move it within my room?
- Of course! If the docking station and monitor need to be moved to a different area of your classroom you are free to make that change or call the Help Desk (0220) to have a technician assist you. The only restriction is that the computer cannot be permanently moved to another room without approval from Technology.
How can I secure it in my classroom?
- Hopefully, most teachers choose to take the laptop home every evening. If you decide to leave the laptop in your classroom unattended (evening, weekends, etc.) then we encourage you to lock it in a cabinet or use the steel cable lock provided with every laptop (http://goo.gl/UFvhTS) to secure it to a desk or other built in cabinetry.
What happens if it gets broken?
- We fix it for you! Seriously, just put in a technology ticket online http://helpdesk.lcisd.org or report the issue by calling 0220 and speaking with our Help Desk Technician.
- Like all of our current student and staff laptops, these laptops have a 5-year warranty including accidental damage. If you close the lid with a pencil on the keyboard and crack your screen, if you leave it on the roof of your car and drive off, if you drop it in the pool…just call us! We’ll get if fixed as long as you let us know. Please don’t hide any damage. We can’t fix it if we don’t know about it!
You say the district has a two computer classroom standard. What if I only have one computer in my classroom?
- While most of our classrooms meet the two computer standard, there are a number of campuses that have many classrooms with only one computer. Not after this project! If you only have the new desktop from 2014 in your classroom then we will add the new instructional laptop, docking station, and HD monitor.
What if I have more than two computers in my classroom?
- Many classrooms have 3 or more desktop computers but are not a computer lab. In 2014 the teacher’s computer was replaced but the other 3, 4, 5, etc. computers were only given new monitors. This summer all the additional computers will be replaced with new machines. The first “student desktop” will be replaced with the new instructional laptop & docking station. The second, third, fourth, etc. “student desktops” will be replaced with a new instructional desktop computer.
What happens to my existing “Teacher Desktop”?
- Nothing. It should have been replaced in 2014. We will reimage it and run a series of checks to ensure it’s fully functional and ready for next year.
What if I already have a laptop(s) (INTERACT or other program provided)?
- This can be tricky. There are actually two possibilities…
- If you were eligible to trade in your laptop in 2014 for a new Dell E5540 laptop then nothing happens. You can continue to use that laptop for any need in your classroom. You will still receive the new instructional laptop in your room.
- If your laptop was too new to be eligible for replacement in 2014 (E5520 and E5530 are common examples) then your laptop(s) will be replaced with a new blue banded student laptop(s). A new laptop cart will be ordered for each campus to provide enough shelf space for laptops in this scenario. Your new laptop will be labeled as being part of this new cart but then checked out to you long term (you earned this machine at INTERACT!). If you leave your campus, then this laptop will return to the cart as part of the campus student laptop inventory. During the summers, these laptops will return to their cart for imaging and servicing before being checked back out to you. Your classroom will still receive the new instructional laptop.
What if I have an instructional position but I don’t have a traditional classroom?
- You will still be issued an instructional laptop. It just may not be in replacement for any existing student desktop.
Will the laptop be waiting in my classroom when I return after the summer?
- No, the laptops will be labeled and entered into each campus’s Destiny (library) inventory and then checked out to staff at the beginning of the year.
My campus was too new to be refreshed in 2014 (Ryon, Adolphus, Arredondo)
- Your student desktop will still be replaced with the new instructional laptop. We will use the new(ish) desktop we pull out to fill in some locations in need of desktop computers.
Will Fulshear, Leaman, and Bentley feature the new classroom standard?
- Yes! Technology for these campuses has already been ordered and meets the new standard of one instructional desktop and one instructional laptop per classroom.
A Mystery Skype lesson involves students in a strategic guessing game. Two classrooms arrange to connect with each other using Skype video calling, and then ask Yes/No questions to discover each other’s locations. It’s popularity with teachers and their students owes a lot to the simple format of the activity. Mystery Skype can be adapted for students of any age, and can be tailored to fit any subject. Our hope is that after experiencing Mystery Skype, teachers will be excited to use Skype to connect their classrooms to students around the world.
In a Nutshell…
- A Skype video call is received from a partner class, but neither class knows the location of the other.
- Students collaborate using maps and critical thinking skills to construct Yes/No questions to ask in order to determine their partner class’ geographic location.
- Students build inquiry skills, learning how to formulate questions that will further their learning.
- The role of the teacher is to facilitate – to help direct the Skype call, and to encourage students to use the information they gain to formulate questions as they learn.
Resources to Download
Mystery Skype Job Cards - Print a copy of each job and place it on the table where students will be seated, or print enough to handout one job card to each student. These help keep students on track, and help you remember what each student should be doing as well!
Mystery Skype Classroom Job Name Badges – (Word Document) Formatted to print as 3 x 4 labels (Avery 5392) - Stick one of these on each student to help everyone stay on track with their job assignment.
Question Stems - for first-time, and K-2 Mystery Skypers
Helpful Responses - to hold in front of the camera when audio is muted or not working
Looking for a Partner Class?
Beyond the official Mystery Skype page (which is a great place to find a partner class, btw!) there are a few other helpful places to look for a Mystery Skype partner. The Global Connection Wiki is one of the simplest places to enter your information & Find a Class to connect with other educators interested in Skyping. Another way to connect would be sending a tweet out to#SkypeMT (Skype Master Teachers,) #MIEExpert (Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts) or #GoogleEI (Google Education Certified Innovators) to connect with some amazing educators!
Before the Call
Before your first Mystery Skype call, you’ll want to be sure you have access to a webcam and that your audio/video settings are configured properly. It’s a good idea to conduct a test call either with your partner teacher, or with another Skype user to ensure everything is working properly. In Lamar CISD, we like to mount a web-cam on a tripod and place it in the front of the classroom (using a USB extension cord, if needed) so that students can view their partner class on their Promethean or Smart Board. If you’re a LCISD teacher – contact your CITS to check out these tech items!
As a “best practice” it’s a good idea to change your city/state location in your Skype profile to “Mystery Skype” instead of letting it say “Rosenberg, Texas” (or wherever you’re from) otherwise even young tech-savy students will quickly sus out your location!
You’ll want to prepare your students for the activity by giving them an overview of the Mystery Skype jobs. It’s also a great idea to conduct a “dry run” by having your class work together to determine a location on the globe that you’ve chosen, so that they can practice their Mystery Skype job. Optional resources that you might want to have on hand during the call include:
- Dry Erase Boards & Markers - These are helpful to have around so that students can quietly write notes to one another, or answer one another’s questions as they work to come up with a question for the partner class. They’re also helpful for communicating a message to the partner class when audio has been muted, or is not working.
- Sticky-Notes - for students in the Think Tank to write down potential questions
- Large Graphic Organizer - After your class has asked a question, it’s helpful to track the question by posting it onto a large Graphic Organizer with “Yes” and “No” labeled at the top. Large chart paper, or chalkboard/dry erase board work well for this purpose.
- Laminated Maps - It’s nice to have a few large, laminated maps that students can write on with dry erase, or vis-a-vis, markers in order to narrow down their search field as their partner class answers each question.
Mystery Skype Jobs
- Greeter – Greets the other class by introducing our class and reviewing the Mystery Skype rules. At the end of the call, the Greeter will be the one to thank the other class, and close out the call. During the call, the Greeter is part of the Think Tank
- Think Tank – All students in the class who are not doing another job. The Think Tank does research, creates questions for the Inquirer to ask, and approves answers to be sent to the Answerer.
- Questioner– Ask Yes/No questions of the other class. (All questions must be able to be answered with a yes or a no.)
- Responder– Answers Yes/No questions from the other class.
- Runner – Pass questions/answers from the Think Tank to the Inquirer & Answerer.
- Tracker – Keeps track of all questions asked and answers received from both sides
- Mappers – In charge of using Atlas/Google Maps/Wall maps etc. to zero in on clues
- Photographer– Captures the call by taking photos/video & posting to class blog.
- Tweeter– Tweets play-by-play action during call
During the Call
After a brief welcome, and introduction (by the Greeter) of each class, a coin is tossed to determine which class will ask the first question.
NOTE: All questions must be answered Yes/No
Classes take turns asking (Inquirers) and answering (Answerers) questions. All students should be participating as described according to the roles listed above.
Once a class has “won” by determining the location of the other class, classes can continue to share a few more interesting details about their daily lives, school routines etc. They may pose open-ended questions to their partner class in order to learn a bit more about them.
The Greeter will thank the other class for connecting, and close out the call.
After the Call
Once you’ve finished, take the time to talk about what worked well, and what could have been done to make things easier, or to improve the Mystery Skype call. Prepare to be surprised at how your class evaluates their own performance, and the environmental/procedural changes that could be made to make things smoother!
Helpful Hashtags & More
- @SkypeClassroom – Twitter handle for Skype in the Classroom – a free global community of teachers working together to create inspiring Skype lessons
- #MysterySkype – Lots of teachers follow this hashtag and use it to connect.
- #Skype2Learn – This hashtag is used for Mystery Skype as well as other types of Skype lessons.
- #SkypeMT – Skype Master Teachers are experts at using Skype in education. Using this hashtag will let them see your request and help you find a connection.
- #MIEExpert – Hashtag followed by Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts around the world! Tweet a question, or connect with teacher who has been commended by Microsoft for being an expert educator!
- #GoogleEI – Hashtag followed by Google Certified Innovators, a group of teachers and educational leaders commended by Google for their outstanding commitment to education.
- #GlobalLearning – Teachers from around the world who connect their classrooms for global projects follow this hashtag.
- #edtech – General hashtag for all things educational technology
- #disted – General hashtag for all things distance education
- Skype for Education - official website
- Mystery Skype – official website
- Skype Call – Learning Call – Another great blog post by LangWitches
Use the scroll bar found on the right side of the image to navigate through this post, or click the “full screen” icon (top right corner of image) to enlarge your view
Use the scroll bar found on the right side of the image to navigate through this post, or click the “full screen” icon (top right corner of image) to enlarge your view.
Use the scroll bar found on the right side of the image to navigate through this post, or click the “full screen” icon (top right corner of image) to enlarge your view.
Focused on an initiative to provide faster, just-in-time service to all staff members, we are excited to announce an expansion to our help desk. Starting the week of September 21st, a CITS will be available daily via the Instructional Tech Hotline (extension 0220) to assist with any instructional needs you are experiencing on your campus. Some examples of ways to utilize this new resource include, but are not limited to:
- Integration of technology into your curriculum
- On the spot training
- Lesson planning
- Equipment Reservation
To ease confusion, the method to contact the Instructional Tech Hotline will be as simple as calling the help desk at x0220. Once it has been determined that you need assistance from an instructional team member, you will be connected with the CITS on duty, who will then work with you to meet your needs.
Instructional Tech Questions? Just call 0220!
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Store It, Don’t Ignore It
The year is winding down and many of you have been saying, “Wow. There is a lot of technology in my classroom. What do I do with it over the summer? What is the best way to store it all? What about my favorites in Internet Explorer? Will my iTunes files be safe? What if I want to access the documents on my H:/ Drive while I’m at home?”
Here at the iCafe we want to make sure your equipment and information are as safe as possible over the summer months, so we’ve developed a few checklists and cheatsheets to help you prepare the technology in your classroom for those long, glorious summer months. We recommend that you read each piece below, but if your are looking or a specific part of this post, click on the main point below to be taken directly to that section!
|There are some big changes with computers this summer! Check out our blog post all about these changes and what you need to know!
What do these changes mean for me? It means EVERYTHING you have saved on your computer will be erased. Gone, see ya, hasta la vista baby! So before you leave campus for the summer, be sure to back-up or save any files on your desktop or in your “My Documents” libraries to your H:/ Drive, a flash drive, or OneDrive for Business.What about your H:/ Drive? Files on your H:/ drive won’t be erased, but we know there are times you would love to access it during the summer. This would be a great time to start moving all your files to a flash drive or OneDrive for Business so you can access them from anywhere you have internet, but maybe you’re running short on time. Burn the information onto a cd or two now, and then work on the file transfer over the summer from home.
Most people remember to save any files they have on their computer, but Internet favorites are often forgotten. Speaking from experience, I can honestly say that there is rarely anything more frustrating then coming back to work at the beginning of the school year and finding that all the awesome sites you’ve saved as favorites on your computer are now gone. AAAKK!!! There are a few simple things that you can do NOW to prevent a syndrome we CITS call “Teacher Freak-Out.”
If you have added favorites you want to archive for next year, you can save your Internet Explorer favorites to a flash drive, your H:/ Drive or other storage. To learn how, check out our quick video for how to back up your Internet Explorer Favorites:
If you have added favorites you want to archive for next year, you can save your Chrome favorites to a flash drive, your H:/ Drive or other storage. To learn how, check out our quick video for how to back up your Chrome Favorites:
There are many other items you may have in your room: iPads, document cameras, interactive white boards, and student response systems, to name just a few. Storing them properly is a big key to having them function properly next year. A good tip is to make sure removable batteries are taken out of any item you can to keep it from corroding. You should also be sure things like Promethean/Smart pens are stored away to keep them from getting lost. You’ll also want to check out our End of the Year Tech Check-List.
Have a great summer!
LCISD has upgraded to Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus!
What does this mean for you?? All staff members, and students (grades 3-12), may download FREE and FULLY FUNCTIONAL copies of Microsoft Office up to 5 times on personal computers & devices!
Office 365 ProPlus Includes:
- MS Word
- MS Excel
- MS PowerPoint
- MS Outlook
- MS OneNote
…as well as a host of other software applications and benefits!
*Please note that employees who leave the district will no longer have access to Office 365 ProPlus after a short “document transition” time.
For more information, & to learn how to download MS Office 365 ProPlus on your personal devices and home computers visit iCafe CLICK HERE!